Pumpkins, turkeys, and presents, oh my! Holiday planners and shoppers are on the online prowl, searching out the hottest deals and coolest ideas to make their holidays fantastic. If you don’t have a full-blown holiday content strategy already in place, never fear. There are still opportunities to help increase your visibility and stay competitive this season.
Search engine marketing is the most effective acquisition method for 85% of all retailers and organic search serves as its largest driver of traffic. Retailers can utilize important keywords searched for during the holiday season and use those to drive on-site content like gift lists, blog posts, and more. Companies in the fields of hospitality and travel can also benefit from holiday SEO content, as these industries often take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
For the past few years, we’ve been seeing huge increases in traffic and sales for online retailers across the U.S. In many cases, this growth has exceeded earlier projections. In 2010, Forrester Research projected that online consumer spend would reach $300 billion by 2017. Their most recent study, which was published this past April, is predicting a whopping $334 billion in online sales by the end of 2015.
In 2013, 19.2 percent of annual e-commerce sales occurred during the holiday season alone. In 2014, holiday online sales rose to $72.03 billion–$1.33 billion and $2.4 billion were spent just on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, respectively.
There’s no question that online holiday sales are increasing, but what’s most significant is the rise in mobile usage during this time of year. Mobile SEO traffic over the 2013 holiday season increased by an average of 120 percent while revenue rose 260 percent. According to InternetRetailer.com, “In 2015 U.S. mobile commerce sales will total $104.05 billion, up 38.7% from $75.03 billion in 2014.”
Despite these trends, the majority of e-retailers do not have mobile-optimized sites. According to Experian Marketing Services, only 35 percent of North American online marketers are mobile-friendly. What’s more, mobile e-commerce is expected to grow 2.58 times faster than all internet sales combined. The bottom line is, if you do nothing else this holiday season, make sure your mobile site is optimized in time for the holidays and that you push plenty of seasonal content out to consumers who are researching, comparison shopping, and buying holiday goods this season.
Types of Holiday Content
Popular and effective types of online holiday content for e-retailers include gift lists and buying guides. But before taking the time to craft your content, be sure to do your research first. Find out which products are trending high in search queries, as well as the types of coupons and discounts your competitors might be offering. Using target keywords like “deals,” “sales,” “gift guides,” “Black Friday,” “top gifts,” etc. will also go a long way.
Websites that cater to foodies, families, or party planners can take advantage of quality on-site or blog content featuring “Easy Holiday Cocktails,” “Holiday Baking for Kids,” or other holiday-themed foods while targeting seasonal keywords. If you have more than one target audience, we recommend crafting various pieces geared toward each unique group. For example, city dwellers might be more interested in exploring what restaurants are open on Christmas day, versus the suburban mom who needs advice on cooking a meal for 20 guests.
Businesses that specialize in travel and hospitality can attract potential customers by providing useful, free information, such as great vacation destinations for winter, traveling with kids, holiday travel deals, how to pack Christmas gifts, etc.
If you have holiday content from years past, you don’t have to start from scratch. Simply update your old content to make it current and fresh. And don’t be afraid to get creative! OfficeMax’s Elf Yourself viral marketing campaign launched in 2006 and returns every holiday season, having generated over 193 million visits in its first year.
Another great way to stand out this season is with holiday rebranding, which may include logo updates (a Christmas tree or snowflakes in the logo), landing page makeovers, or offering limited-time free shipping.
Tips for Next Year
Ideally, your holiday online content campaign should start well before the holidays. Depending on the size of your business and available resources, you may want to start as early as January. Realistically, starting in June or July should give you ample time to formulate your strategy.
If you ran any holiday campaigns in the past, always track their performance and apply any findings to the next year’s campaign. Keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing, and spend a lot of time getting to know your customers and target audience better so you can identify topics they are most likely to search for and respond to.
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Co-authored by Daniel Dell-Cornejo.